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Drug Driving

In the eyes of the law, drug driving is equivalent to drink driving.

It is impossible to predict the effect that drugs will have on your driving.

Every time you take drugs and drive you are putting yourself, your passengers and other road users into an unpredictable and potentially dangerous position.

It is an offence to drive with drugs above a specified level in your bloodstream. This includes illegal and medical drugs.

Police officers can test for cannabis and cocaine at the roadside. They can screen for other drugs, including ecstasy, LSD, ketamine and heroin at the police station. Even if you pass the roadside check, you will still be arrested if it is suspected that you are driving under the influence of other drugs.

Drug Driving Myths

Myth – “Cannabis is a ‘safer’ substitute for drinking”                                       

Fact – Experts estimate that smoking a joint before driving can have a similar impairment effect as drinking 4 pints of beer.

Myth – “Cocaine makes me more alert”

Fact – This alertness is extremely short lived and can lead to a sudden low with an increased likelihood of falling asleep at the wheel.

Myth – “Ecstasy makes me a more confident driver”

Fact – Rather than confident, ecstasy actually makes you over confident and prone to taking risks.

Myth – “Ketamine, LSD and magic mushrooms improve my reactions”

Fact – These are hallucinogenic and can often lead you to react to objects and sounds that are not actually there, putting everyone around you in danger.

Myth – “Speed makes me feel alert and confident”

Fact – This alertness is only a perception and can cause unexpected anxiety, panic attacks and loss of concentration. As with ecstasy there is a tendency to be over confident and therefore take more risks.

Myth – “I’m OK to drive because the effects of taking any drugs wear off really quickly”

Fact – Different drugs affect you for different lengths of time. The same drug can even affect you differently at different times i.e amount you’ve eaten, slept or how you are feeling generally.

Myth – “The police need to prove that I’m impaired before they can charge me with a driving offence”

Fact – The Roadside Saliva Swab test proves instantly if your driving is impaired by drugs. However, this is not even a requirement for a police officer to rightly make arrest.

Myth – “It’s OK, you just get a fine if you are convicted of drug driving”

Fact – If you are convicted of drug driving you’ll get a minimum 1 year driving ban, an unlimited fine, up to 6 months in prison and a criminal record.

Your driving licence will also show that you’ve been convicted for drug driving. This will last for 11 years. This can affect your employability and whether you are allowed into other countries such as the USA.

Don’t let drugs take the driving seat.


Key statistics


Between 2019 and 2022 there were 372 crashes involving a driver who was impaired by drugs.


in which there were 583 casualties from these crashes as a result of a driver who was impaired by drugs.